It’s not possible for Healthcare Professionals (HCPs) to directly experience all the things their patients go through, and sometimes there can be a gap in how HCPs and patients each rate the severity of some symptoms. More commonly, because HCPs don’t have this direct experience of the impact that some quality of life symptoms have on patients day to day activities, they might not give the right emphasis in trying to alleviate this extra burden of suffering – “Isn’t it great that I cured your cancer, don’t worry about the urine leakage, you only need to wear a nappy/diaper/incontinence pad in your pants”.
There are a few ways that psychologists have tried to create a greater empathetic appreciation of the burden of these quality-of-life symptoms, mostly through “day in the life” exercises, where HCP’s need to role-play as patients, with triggers and timers telling them that, for example, they have experienced a urinary leakage, with coaches then coaxing out an emotional appreciation of the impact of this on the participant. These kinds of courses are excellent, but expensive to run and time-consuming to participate in, so are there other ways? We have developed a serious games platform, that can model QoL and their impact on the patient’s quality of life over shorter periods of gameplay, condensing a day’s experience down to ten minutes, the frequency that the symptoms interrupt the players day can be matched accurately to real life. The shortening of the day length to ten game play minutes, means that within twenty minutes of play, an HCP can experience two different QoL outcomes, and can gain an appreciation of the benefit of one treatment over another.
If you’d like to understand how this approach can help HCPs gain an experiential emotive understanding of QoL symptoms for everything from pain to pooping, please reach out to me.